The Joint Training Experimentation Program: Lessons Learned from the First Demonstration




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The Joint Training Experimentation Program:

Lessons Learned from the First Demonstration




Reginald Ford, John Shockley, Michael Beebe, Mark Faust, Gerald Lucha

SRI International

333 Ravenswood Avenue

Menlo Park, CA 94025

650-859-4375, 650-859-4165, 650-859-6734, 650-859-2188, 650-859-4434

reginald.ford@sri.com, john.shockley@sri.com, mike.beebe@sri.com, mark.faust@sri.com, gerald.lucha@sri.com
Mark Johnson

SRI International

4111 Broad Street; Suite A-7

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

805-542-9330

mark.johnson@sri.com

COL (Ret.) John C. Bernatz

Office of the Adjutant General

9800 Goethe Road

Sacramento, CA 95826

916-854-3676, DSN: 466-3676

John.Bernatz@ca.ngb.army.mil

Keywords: LVC Training Systems; Live-Constructive Interaction


ABSTRACT: The Joint Training Experimentation Program (JTEP) is a multiphase, multiyear effort to develop a distributed training capability for the California National Guard that includes live, virtual, and constructive training simulations. JTEP will use existing and readily available systems to address the unique training needs of the Guard, i.e., limited training time and units distributed around the state. The current, initial, phase of JTEP is to develop a battalion-level training capability for ground forces training. The next phase will expand on this capability to provide training for brigade-level exercises and training for the Guard’s Military Support for Civil Authority (MSCA) mission. Future phases will continue this expansion in scope to include Air Guard assets and the distribution of JTEP capabilities to other states.

As part of this initial phase, the first JTEP demonstration, a live-constructive (LC) system linkage, was conducted in May 2003. This demonstration linked the Deployable Force-on-Force Instrumented Range System (DFIRSTTM), a live instrumented training system at Camp Roberts, CA, and the Joint Combat and Tactical Simulation (JCATS), a constructive simulation located at Camp San Luis Obispo, CA, about 50 miles away. The demonstration scenario centered on an instrumented platoon of live forces engaging a live scout element. Constructive forces expanded the scope of the exercise to a company-level scenario. The demonstration successfully incorporated a number of functional goals of JTEP, including (1) low-cost multi-echelon training over distributed training sites, (2) the use of existing Guard training and networking assets, and (3) the expansion of the training range to include off-range areas for the constructive forces. Key technical accomplishments included (1) successful indirect and direct fire engagements between live and constructive entities, using pop-up targets correlated with JCATS entities as visual stimulation for the live forces; (2) data and voice connectivity over GuardNet, a non-dedicated network; (3) the use of correlated synthetic terrain for better LC engagement simulation fidelity; and (4) the demonstration of a low-cost instrumentation set to emulate tank maneuver training with HMMWVs.

This paper provides an overview of JTEP and describes the results and lessons learned from this first LC demonstration. Additionally, it addresses how these results will impact future JTEP demonstrations and how they might be applicable to other live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) integration efforts.

1. Introduction


JTEP overview. The California National Guard (CANG) currently uses advanced live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) systems1 to support training, but each system is stand-alone. JTEP was conceived to bring to the California Guard the benefits of integrating existing or readily available training environments, and to enable LVC interaction over non-dedicated wide-area networks (WANs).

JTEP is an experimentation program that will leverage the integration successes of other programs whenever possible, but will also advance the state of the art in system and simulation interoperability as needed to meet California Guard training needs. For each of the major program phases, JTEP progresses through three activities: (1) an initial study to determine which candidate systems and integration mechanisms will achieve the greatest impact; (2) a series of proof-of-concept technology and training demonstrations or experiments; and (3) the final selection of systems and the design of demonstrations with the eventual goal of providing a leave-behind capability suitable for routine usage in training.



JTEP schedule. JTEP is a multiyear program. The first (current) year addresses battalion-level training. The second year will address Military Support for Civilian Authority (MSCA), additional sites, and brigade-level training. The third and subsequent years will add MSCA and combat training functions, and expand the program scope to Air Guard, additional states, etc.

Scope and organization of this paper. This paper provides an overview of JTEP LVC integration challenges and early progress, in particular the initial LC demonstration conducted on 3 May 2003. Sections 2 and 3 explain the program’s goals and methodology. Section 4 summarizes the demonstration’s architecture, technical and operational achievements, and lessons learned. Sections 5 and 6 describe future plans. As JTEP evolves there will be additional demonstrations of expanded scope. We envision submitting papers that address specific technical issues that arise during the development and execution of the demonstrations.

2. JTEP from a Trainer’s Perspective


JTEP is a technology experimentation program whose purpose is to provide a new training capability to National Guard soldiers and units.  The capability is new in that it will allow National Guard units to train at the level to which they are organized for pennies on the dollar.  JTEP leverages existing National Guard communications capabilities and training systems to effect this capability. National Guard units will train on equipment and systems already familiar and in inventory, but now linked together electronically in real time, over extended distances, and on the same exercise terrain.  

 Training augmentation. JTEP LVC integration improves training realism by making it easier to combine training activities that are commonly conducted separately, e.g., live maneuvers and simulated fire support and close air support (CAS). It supports larger-scale and more realistic training scenarios: e.g., one armor company conducting live maneuvers on an instrumented range can train jointly with additional companies that are using virtual and/or constructive systems.



Limited training time, budget, and facilities. JTEP creates more opportunities for the Guard to train closer to home, converting travel time to training time. It enables more advanced training at lower cost, e.g., creating battalion-size events with company-level operational investment, i.e., OPTEMPO dollars. It enables the Guard to conduct exercises with larger units than existing ranges can support. It allows scenarios on live ranges to extend beyond range boundaries.

Geographically distributed forces. California Guard training sites are widely dispersed. Current Homeland Security missions (e.g., out-of-state activations) exacerbate the situation. JTEP allows geographically separated units to train together and to experience a unified battlefield environment despite physical separation. Data and voice communications over a WAN enable forces using the live instrumentation and simulation systems located at each site to coordinate their actions within the common environment.

Distributed AAR. In the second year we will add a Distributed After Action Review (AAR) at the conclusion of the training event. The distributed AAR will leverage and expand the capabilities of the existing National Guard Distance Learning Classrooms. Commanders will have the capability to ensure that all participants at all locations are able to engage in the highly effective discovery learning process of the AAR. 

MSCA. In the preceding decade, the California National Guard has conducted approximately 50 percent of all the nation’s National Guard-provided MSCA missions and activities. This is a particularly important issue for California.  Our state remains prone to an array of natural disasters, including earthquake and wildfire.  Additionally, in the post-9/11 world, all states are vulnerable to terrorist activity and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) events.  The need for meaningful training in the emergency management and response field has never been more acute than it is now. Starting with the second phase, JTEP will include training opportunities for the emergency management and response community, similar to the Army's Battle Command Training Program.

 The real beneficiaries. JTEP will provide National Guard soldiers and airmen, who often receive little in the way of training resources, a capability to engage in multi-echelon training calculated to make units and soldiers significantly better prepared to conduct their assigned combat jobs.   Additionally, the National Guard has the mission to protect the lives and property of the citizens of their states when called on by their Governors.  JTEP will enhance the capability of National Guard units to accomplish this mission and will provide significantly enhanced training and preparation for the civilian community we support.  



Experimentation and transition. JTEP creates a mechanism for the smooth introduction of new technologies into California Guard training. Technologies are integrated, developed, and tested in the testbed. Demonstrations provide an opportunity for Guard personnel to evaluate new capabilities and to provide feedback to developers. This cycle facilitates the introduction of advanced LVC training capabilities into the standard training regimen with minimum disruption.

3. JTEP Development


Sponsorship. JTEP is being developed by SRI International under contract to the CANG and National Guard Bureau (NGB). Direct program oversight is provided by the California National Guard Joint Staff.

System Analysis. JTEP commenced in September 2002 with a trade-off study of candidate systems and LVC integration mechanisms. Selected references include [1] – [26].

Because of the Guard’s training and acquisition requirements, preference was given to systems currently used or readily available for use by the CANG to train armored forces, but other systems were examined for suitability and affordability. The study was completed in January 2003. The selected systems are as follows:



  • Constructive: Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS). The CANG currently used Janus-T, but the lack of an interoperability interface mandated the selection of an alternative.

  • Virtual: Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT). The CANG has a platoon-size mobile suite.

  • Live: Deployable Force-on-Force Instrumented Training System (DFIRSTTM). The CANG has a company-size system.

  • Interoperability: Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS). Although the High-Level Architecture (HLA) was preferred for technical, performance, and future growth reasons, DIS was selected because it is already fully supported by all of the selected LVC systems, and is being used by the Digital Battlestaff Sustainment Trainer (DBST) for a related JCATS-CCTT integration task.

  • Network: GuardNet. Sufficient bandwidth was available to support the initial scenario for the JTEP LC demonstration, but bandwidth conservation presents a long-term challenge that will be addressed in subsequent JTEP development.

JTEP testbed. SRI developed a testbed to support both system analysis and system integration. Analysis areas include system interfaces, interoperability adaptation mechanisms, performance, and the conformance of integrated systems, components, scenarios, terrain, etc., with “fair fight” requirements. A key aspect of the testbed approach is that all of the candidate JTEP components are integrated in a single logical location. Typically, LVC integration efforts have involved bringing the system components together during scheduled integration events prior to an actual exercise. With the JTEP testbed, integration is ongoing throughout the development process leading up to the actual demonstration. The testbed configuration then becomes the basis for the actual demonstration system. We believe that this approach has many advantages in identifying technical integration issues early on, and was a major factor in the overall success of the demonstration.

A notable feature of the testbed is its distribution between the SRI Menlo Park facility (SRI-MP) and San Luis Obispo office (SRI-SLO), which are 200 miles apart. JCATS is installed in both locations, but SLO is the primary integration site. DFIRST playback is available at both sites, but MP alone supports live operations testing. It is anticipated that CCTT test stations will be installed exclusively in SLO. This arrangement enforces daily experience with the challenges of physical and network distribution, and therefore facilitates a smooth transition from lab to field environments. The distributed testbed has also forced us to use non-dedicated networks in all of our integration testing. The use of these networks in the testbed configuration uncovered issues that eventually appeared in the operational GuardNet. The early identification and resolution of these issues contributed to our success.



LVC integration sequencing. At program inception, it was anticipated that the first demonstration would be virtual constructive (VC) and the second LVC. However, after the system analysis study was completed in January 2003, SRI and the California Guard determined that a DFIRST-JCATS LC integration was more feasible for an April or May demonstration than a CCTT-JCATS VC integration. A DFIRST-CCTT-JCATS LVC demonstration is planned for October 2003.

4. JTEP Live-Constructive Demonstration


Demonstration overview and date. A technology and training demonstration of the DFIRST-JCATS LC integration was conducted on 3 May 2003. JCATS supported command activities at Camp San Luis Obispo, and DFIRST supported armored unit maneuver training 50 miles away at Camp Roberts. Figure 1 shows the geographic distribution of the demonstration.


Figure 1. Geographic Distribution of Demonstration

4.1 Demonstration Components


The components used to support the LC integration included

  • DIS 2.0.4 (IEEE 1278.1), the integration protocol.

  • JCATS 4.0, the constructive simulation.

  • DFIRST 2.0.6, the live maneuver training instrumentation.

  • Customized DIS Radio software using EmDee DisComm6 technology. SRI developed hardware interfaces to the live radio components (handsets, SINCGARS radios). Note: ASTi DIS radio systems were considered, but their acquisition lead-time precluded their use for an April or May demonstration.

  • SINCGARS radios interfaced to the DIS Radio processor in the DFIRST base station, which provided tactical communications with live armored crews.

  • SRI Data Forwarder 1.0, which provided reliable multi-site distribution of best-effort broadcast DIS PDUs over GuardNet.

  • DFIRST prototype HUM-1 and HUM-72 instrumentation, which allowed the battle to be fought with HMMWVs operating as M1A1s, T-72s, and BTR-60s.

  • MAK VR-Link 3.7.3-ngc libraries, used in the DIS gateway.

  • MAK Stealth Observer 4.2-ngc, which provided a 3D view of the full battlefield at Camp SLO and Camp Roberts.

  • CISCO PIX501, which provided security isolation between GuardNet and the DFIRST wireless LAN.

4.2 Demonstration Scenario


The demonstration scenario comprised live and constructive Friendly and OPFOR forces with operation orders as follows:

Friendly: 1 Tank Company with support elements

  • Live: 1 Tank Platoon (4 HUM-1s). Depart assembly area (AA) vic FQ 995603; proceed along Route Merlin and destroy scout element with T-72 support at Objective (OBJ) Wizard vic GQ045595; set up Hasty Defense and prepare to support by fire for the main effort on OBJ Magic.

  • Constructive: 2 Tank Platoons with company headquarters and support elements. 10 M1A1s. 3 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (1 First Sergeant, 1 Maintenance, 1 Medics). 1 M88A1 Tracked Recovery Vehicle. 1 Mortar Section (2 Mortar tracks 120mm). Depart Assembly Area (AA) vic FQ 995603; proceed along Route Merlin by passing Objective (OBJ) Wizard vic GQ045595 and proceeding for Deliberate Attack on OBJ Show vic GQ 057592; once OBJ Show is cleared set up Hasty Defense.

OPFOR: 1 Tank Platoon and support elements

  • Live: 1 Tank (HUM-72), 2 APC (HMMWVs “guised” as BTR-60s). Defend vic GQ045595.

  • Constructive: 4 T-72 Tanks. 2 BMP Armored Personnel Carriers. 1 Mortar Section (2 Mortar Tracks). 2 BMP on target lifters for play. Defend vic GQ 057592.

The scenario is depicted graphically in Figure 2. Key elements of the scenario included a design that separated the majority of live and constructive forces, and specifically designated constructive units that were mimicked as live pop-up targets. Because live force elements generally cannot see constructive force elements, a wraparound scenario was designed so that constructive forces would not engage live forces in direct fire (except for the designated pop-up targets). Constructive Red elements were kept beyond the range of live Blue, and constructive Blue forces did not move forward until live Blue tanks had destroyed live Red elements.

The scenario also included two types of engagement interaction between JCATS and DFIRST. Command elements used JCATS to initiate indirect fire artillery missions against DFIRST live entities. More importantly, JCATS-DFIRST and DFIRST-JCATS direct fire engagements occurred between JCATS pop-up targets and live DFIRST entities. Two JCATS entities mimicked live pop-up targets. The targets were entities “owned” by the Camp SLO JCATS simulation, but they were located physically on the Camp Roberts DFIRST range. The pop-up targets provided visual stimulation to the live players. Engagement interactions between the targets and the live entities involved both JCATS and DFIRST. In the JTEP LC demonstration, this approach enabled a fair fight between live and constructive elements, but it can also be used generally in live exercises to enable pop-up targets to return fire.





Figure 2. Demonstration Scenario

4.3 Demonstration Architecture


Overall network. The distribution of components and the communications between the Camp SLO and Camp Roberts sites is shown in Figure 3. Command elements and constructive OPFOR elements were at Camp SLO, while live Friendly, live OPFOR, and the pop-up targets (mimicking JCATS entities) were at Camp Roberts.



Figure 3. Distributed Components and Communications

Camp SLO components and network. The internal Camp SLO components and network are shown in Figure 4.

  • The JCATS DIS bridge broadcast JCATS entity state, weapons fire, and detonation data as DIS PDUs, and received incoming DFIRST entity state, fire, and detonation PDUs.

  • Standard tactical handsets were connected to the DIS radio interface boxes and software. Voice from the handsets was broadcast as DIS radio PDUs. Incoming DIS radio PDUs from DFIRST were transmitted as voice on the handsets.

  • Stealth Observer received all JCATS and DFIRST DIS entity state and detonation PDUs and displayed them on 3D terrain.

  • The Data Forwarder was the server node that accepted connections from remote client nodes. It listened on the local network for UDP-broadcast DIS PDUs and sent them to remote clients over GuardNet as a TCP stream. It also received TCP streams from remote clients and broadcast them on the local network as UDP DIS PDUs.

Each friendly and OPFOR command element used a JCATS station to plan and modify the movements of semi-automated forces and to initiate artillery fire missions. Each station was able to see own-force JCATS and DFIRST entities, plus the opposing force entities acquired by own-force elements (as determined by JCATS algorithms). DIS radios located at Blue and Red stations allowed command elements to communicate with live crews located in vehicles at Camp Roberts.

White force elements saw a combined view of JCATS and DFIRST entities and engagements on the JCATS White station and on Stealth Observer. JCATS and Stealth Observer terrains were correlated, so that the 3D view faithfully reflected the terrain used by JCATS algorithms to determine the line-of sight (LOS) among entities. Both white station and JCATS stations used the JIDPS terrain data set distributed by JFCOM.





Figure 4. Camp SLO Components and Network

Camp Roberts components and network. The internal Camp Roberts components and network are shown in Figure 5.

  • Because an Ethernet connection to GuardNet was not available at the DFIRST Base Station location, a wireless LAN was used to send and receive JTEP network traffic.

  • A PIX501 Firewall was used to secure GuardNet against possible access intrusion from a wireless LAN eavesdropper.

  • The DFIRST DIS gate broadcast DFIRST entity state, weapons fire, and detonation data as DIS PDUs, and received incoming JCATS entity state, fire, and detonation PDUs.

  • Tactical SINCGARS radios were connected to the DIS radio interface boxes and software. Voice from the radios was broadcast on the local network as DIS PDUs. Incoming radio PDUs from JCATS were broadcast as voice on the SINCGARS radios.

  • DFIRST software mediated indirect and direct fire engagements between DFIRST and JCATS. Since pop-up targets were modeled as JCATS entities, target up and down commands were associated with data sent from JCATS to DFIRST, i.e., a target emerging from defilade was raised, and a killed target was dropped. Commands were issued to personnel controlling the target via voice radio.

  • Stealth Observer received all JCATS and DFIRST DIS entity state and detonation PDUs and displayed them on high resolution 3D terrain.

  • The Data Forwarder was a client node connected to the Camp SLO server node. It listened on the local network for UDP broadcast DIS PDUs and sent them to the server over GuardNet as TCP streams. It also received TCP streams from the server and broadcast them on the local network as UDP DIS PDUs.

The observer controller (OC) in the DFIRST Base Station saw a combined view of JCATS and DFIRST entities and engagements on the DFIRST 2D map display and the 3D Stealth Observer. Stealth Observer terrain was derived from high-resolution terrain data, so that the 3D view closely correlated with the actual terrain seen by the crews in the vehicles. It should be noted that the terrain database used by Stealth Observer in Camp Roberts was different from the database used in Camp SLO, since Camp Roberts observers needed a view that matched ground truth as closely as possible, whereas Camp SLO observers needed a view that matched the lower-resolution terrain used by JCATS.



Figure 5. Camp Roberts Components and Network

4.4 Key Functional Accomplishments


Although this was the first JTEP demonstration, it achieved a number of functional accomplishments that are key for effective training. While some are common for LVC integration, others satisfy unique Guard training needs.

Connecting two training sites. During the JTEP demonstration, the TOC was at Camp SLO and the tank crews at Camp Roberts. This distribution of activities demonstrates JTEP’s potential to convert travel time to training time. Though not a new development in the simulation interoperability community, this is a significant development for the Guard, since it demonstrates JTEP’s capability to meet the Guard’s training requirements as an eventual leave-behind system.

Expanded training-site opportunities. The JTEP JCATS instrumentation comprises laptop computers, DIS radios, and cables; thus it could be used at any NGB site that has a GuardNet connection. Because Camp Roberts and NTC are the only California ranges for armored maneuver training, there is normally very limited opportunity for tank crews to train close to home. However, the DFIRST HUM-1/HUM-72 instrumentation enables maneuver training in any location where HMMWVs are available. Also, for Camp Roberts it extends the training season, since portions of the range that are closed to tanks due to winter river conditions remain open to HMWVVs.

Low-cost training using simulation augmentation. The JTEP demonstration created a company-size event with platoon-level OPTEMPO dollars; i.e., ths cost of operating a platoon in a training exercise.

Low-cost training using HUM-1/HUM-72. Substituting HMMVWs for tanks reduced the operational cost of JTEP LC demonstration, and it demonstrated the feasibility of “JEEP-EXs”; i.e., using HMMWVs as tank surrogates for basic maneuver training. A JEEP-EX capability drastically reduces cost and time to draw vehicles.

Expansion of real training area. Live maneuver training is necessarily constrained to stay within range boundaries and to avoid dangerous or environmentally sensitive areas. However, in the JTEP training scenario the battle extended beyond range boundaries to a private farm. No complaints were received from the farm’s owner because this part of the battlefield was populated solely by JCATS semi-automated forces

4.5 Key Technical Accomplishments


We recognize that many of the technical accomplishments cited below have been reported for a number of previous LVC exercises and demonstrations. However, they are key in the JTEP context because of their applicability to Guard training and the JTEP emphasis on developing a functional leave-behind training capability.

LC direct-fire interaction. Live DFIRST vehicles (HMMWVs playing as M1A1s) engaged and killed constructive JCATS vehicles (BMP-2s), and the JCATS entities returned fire. The BMP2 weapons were able to hit the M1A1s but not to damage them before the BMP-2s were destroyed. The JCATS entities were represented in the live domain by pop-up targets (typically used for live fire target practice). The targets were placed in the real terrain, and then the JCATS entities were assigned to fixed defensive positions at the locations of the live targets. Each system reported shots by its entities to the other system as DIS fire and detonation PDUs and then adjudicated hits to its own entities. To give the attacking live crews visual feedback on the effects of their shots, an observer with a remote control device dropped each target when JCATS ruled that its associated BMP had been killed.

LC indirect fire interaction. Both sides of the live fight received indirect fire support from constructive JCATS 120 mm mortar carriers. The live commanders requested fire missions from a human participant role-playing the fire direction center over voice communications; the role player then directed the JCATS entities to fire. JCATS then sent fire PDUs to DFIRST, and DFIRST assessed damage to the live vehicles and provided incoming fire notification to the live crews.

Connectivity: DIS Radios. Tactical voice from the headquarters element at Camp SLO was connected to live (DFIRST) entity/vehicle commanders using DIS Radios. The linkage went as follows: Camp SLO Voice <--> DIS PDUs <--> GuardNet <--> DIS PDUs <--> SINGCARS Radios <--> RF <--> VRC-12 Radios <--> In-vehicle Live Voice. COTS software and GOTS radios were used with SRI-developed H/W and S/W interfaces.

Connectivity: nondedicated link. Most examples of LVC interoperation found in the literature were implemented using dedicated networks. In keeping with the JTEP objectives, the demonstration utilized a nondedicated third-party network for multisite DIS data connectivity. An SRI-developed Data Forwarder application bridged the physically separated LANs over a WAN. During integration testing, the public Internet was used for communications. During the demonstration, GuardNet was used.

Terrain toolkit. Terrain data comes in many formats, resolutions, and coordinate systems. Data may also have internal correlation flaws and gaps in coverage. To create high-quality terrain databases from a variety of source data, we assembled a terrain toolkit comprising Terrex’s TerraVista, Dart, and SAFUSA; ESRI’s ArcGIS, 3D Analyst, and Spatial Analyst; Quantum3D’s Audition; Adobe’s Photoshop; and MAK’s Stealth Observer. For the LC demonstration, we used this toolkit to correct source data and to create, annotate, and verify terrain databases.

Correlated terrain. Terrain incompatibilities between simulation systems are a major impediment to direct-fire interactions between entities belonging to different systems. Two terrain data sources for Camp Roberts were available to us: a JCATS terrain database distributed by the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Integrated Database Production Service (JIDPS), and high-resolution GIS source data provided by NGB. Because the NGB terrain data very closely represents the real terrain viewed by the live players, it was suitable for correlation testing with the JCATS terrain. To compare the terrains, we synthesized OpenFlight databases from the NGB data and from the JCATS database for use in Stealth Observer. The LOS fans of the pop-up targets on the two terrains proved to be well correlated. If the terrains had not been well correlated, we would have modified the JCATS terrain with the JCATS Terrain Editor.

Annotated terrain. In DFIRST, company graphics are created and displayed on a 2D map. We used the rapid terrain generation capability of our toolkit to replicate these graphics on the 3D terrain.

HUM-1/HUM-72. DFIRST prototype HUM-1/HUM-72 instrumentation allowed HMMWVs to play as M1A1s and T-72s in the JTEP scenario. Although a HMMVW equipped with a surrogate weapon on its roof has obvious physical and optical differences from an M1A1 or T-72, the Guard tank crews who participated in the exercise reported favorably on the value of the instrumentation for maneuver training.

4.6 Lessons Learned


The preparation leading up to the demonstration provided most of the lessons learned. The demonstration itself went very much according to plan.

System analysis. The JTEP System Analysis identified and evaluated alternatives for LVC systems and integration mechanisms. The analysis started in September 2002 and was presented 5 months later on 12 February 2003. At that time, the California National Guard gave approval to some recommendations and selected others from among alternatives. The hands-on integration work for the first demonstration was completed in the following 2.5 months. The literature study succeeded in identifying the key interoperability issues for testbed focus, so we were able to proceed rapidly and with little wasted effort. We also benefited from on-site visits and discussions with many people who are currently working on interoperability projects, including the National Simulation Center (NSC), the CCTT program office at PEO-STRI, the Ft Knox Simulation Center, and TRAC-WSMR. Visits to DBST at Ft. Hood in November and December 2002 were an especially rich source of information about real-world simulation interoperability issues and solutions.

JTEP testbed. We developed a testbed that allowed all systems and components to be tested together, so that on-site setup during the week before the demonstration presented few surprises. Dividing the testbed between SRI Menlo Park and SRI San Luis Obispo made a particularly valuable contribution to preparing, both technically and logistically, for distributed operations.

Small scope. The JTEP program plan calls for a series of demonstrations, each building on the others in modest increments. The scope of the first demonstration was limited to two major systems, JCATS and DFIRST, and two ancillary components, DIS radios and Stealth Observer. This scope was small enough to enable us to focus on the key technical issues of LC interaction, data connectivity, and terrain with sufficient depth to achieve meaningful and nearly trouble-free interoperation on the first try. JTEP is certainly not unique in its approach, but the value of starting small and then building on a stable foundation is worth reiterating.

Short development time with DIS. It is well known that DIS did not achieve the nirvana of simple plug-and-play, and that interface commonality is not equivalent to interoperability. When two or more simulation systems come together, the universality of DIS PDUs and enumerations does not eliminate the need to adjust for mismatches in the particular entity types, weapons systems, environmental effects, etc., that each supports; in acquisition, hit, and lethality algorithms; and in terr*ain databases and modeling methods. HLA formalizes a methodology for making adjustments, but is a starting point rather than an end point. Nevertheless, DIS solves enough problems that a 3-month integration effort could achieve meaningful interoperation between a constructive system and a live system that were developed independently to meet the needs of very different aspects of the training domain.

Network throughput and timing. Predeployment network testing indicated, and demonstration operations verified, that GuardNet throughput and latency were adequate for a small-scale exercise. Peak loading for 25 live and constructive vehicles and two voice channels was under 180 kbits/s. The DIS radios dominated the network traffic. Scaling up to a battalion-size exercise in the next JTEP demonstration will present throughput challenges (see section 6).

Fidelity and training. The fidelity of the training exercise was clearly an important consideration in the design of the demonstration system and the training scenario. Nevertheless, we concentrated on achieving sufficient fidelity to achieve the Guard’s training and demonstration objectives for this particular demonstration. For example, we judged the JCATS/real world line of sight between the live and pop-up entities to be sufficiently well matched for the level of training being demonstrated, and so did not expend the considerable effort that would be needed to achieve perfect LOS consistency. Additionally, there were delays in obtaining specific JCATS hit/lethality tables, so we approximated these effects between JCATS and DFIRST systems to yield expected results for M1A1 vs. BMP-2 engagements. As the scope and training objectives of subsequent demonstrations expand, we will direct additional attention to fidelity issues as the scenarios warrant.

Dead reckoning parameters and live instrumentation. DIS dead reckoning parameters that are suitable in a simulation context are not suitable for the live domain. The MAK VR-Link DIS libraries used in the DFIRST gateway set 0.5 m as the default dead reckoning for entity state updates. This value works well for the smooth trajectories of simulated entities, but it is inside the 2–3 m noise level experienced in live entity tracking using differentially corrected GPS instrumentation. Before the parameter was adjusted, most DFIRST tracks were updated at an excessive 1 Hz or greater rate even under low dynamics.

Voice compression. The DIS radios had several voice compression algorithm choices, including CVSD at 25 kbps and muLaw at 64 kbps. Because the 24 kbps compression used in DFIRST recording of tactical voice nets results in no noticeable degradation, we hoped that the 25 kbps DIS recording would be satisfactory even though 64 kbps is commonly used in the DIS community. However, we found that SINCGARS voice sent over the DIS radios was significantly degraded at 25 kbps and therefore we were forced to operate at the 64 kbps rate.

Avoidance of single-point failures. Every experiment is susceptible to catastrophic failure in some element of hardware, software, or coordination. Our past experience has taught us that, in addition to thorough testing, time spent obsessing over potential disasters and planning fallbacks and workarounds is time well spent. During the JTEP demonstration week, we experienced intermittent failure in the Camp Roberts network communication through the wireless LAN/PIX501 firewall. When troubleshooting under field conditions failed to resolve the problem, we fell back to a preplanned alternative, i.e., transmitting the data between Range Control and DFIRST via two Freewave Ethernet radios. This method reduced our network throughput somewhat, but caused no noticeable degradation to integrated JCATS/DFIRST operations. The failure was diagnosed and resolved after the demonstration.

Software robustness. New environments are stressful for software and are likely to uncover vulnerabilities not found in previous testing and usage. We discovered that the JCATS DIS bridge, and occasionally the server software, crashed when it received some types of unexpected data, e.g., a change in an entity’s vehicle type. Most simulation systems have no reason to change an entity’s type after startup, but DFIRST does so when a real vehicle, e.g., an M1A1, is equipped with its “native” instrumentation set, and then is guised by a command from the Base Station to play as another vehicle type, e.g., a T-72. We were fortunate in that the DFIRST software was under our control, so that we could easily program a workaround. However, if we had found a similar problem integrating two third-party systems, e.g., JCATS and CCTT, obtaining a quick-turnaround fix would have been more problematic. It should be noted that DBST uses NSC’s SimC4I Interchange Module for Plans, Logistics, and Exercises (SIMPLE) to make just this kind of adaptation.

Cooperation. Anyone who has participated in a multisystem, multisite, multiorganization integration project knows that the logistical challenges of the project are on the same scale as the technical challenges. We have been impressed by the professional responsibility and personal helpfulness we encountered everywhere. But never underestimate the value of having fun. After completing the two planned mission rehearsals on the day prior to the demonstration, some of the SRI team were wishing for a third run to iron out a couple of kinks in execution. Before we had a chance to request support from the tank crews, they asked us if they could go out again after dinner.

5. Next Steps for JTEP


LVC Demonstration. The second JTEP demonstration is a battalion-size training event scheduled for December 2003. It is planned to include all elements and sites of the first demonstration, plus a mobile CCTT platoon suite located in Los Alamitos, California, and a distributed AAR, comprising the three training sites and the Office of the Adjutant General (OTAG) in Sacramento.

CCTT integration. The CCTT mobile suites are scheduled for continuous deployment during the integration period. The JTEP testbed will use M2SAF desktop trainers and CCTT SAF as surrogates supporting integration. We have been granted on-site access to the deployed CCTT mobiles for targeted connectivity and milestone tests.

Stitched-terrain playbox. Camp Roberts is not among the seven current CCTT terrain databases. To create a contiguous playbox, one the CCTT Grafenfels (P6) database will be stitched to the Camp Roberts data to create a combined playbox.

Correlated terrain. A SEDRIS version of the CCTT terrain database and the high-resolution Camp Roberts terrain database will be exported to JCATS format to create correlated terrain. JTEP has acquired a beta version of the SAFUSA extension to Terrex’s TerraVista that has the capability to export terrain to native JCATS format.

Gateway engagement adaptations. To overcome the effects of terrain and coordinate system differences in dissimilar simulations (CCTT, JCATS, live instrumentation), we plan to investigate an alternative engagement resolution approach. Instead of modeling ballistics and detonation location on target vehicles to compute damage effects, this approach first assesses these factors in the gateway. Impact location reported by the shooter’s simulation system is used only to determine the intended target (engagement pairing). Then hit outcome is assessed using probabilistic tables from the Army Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA). The gateway reissues the detonation PDU at the location of the intended target in the coordinate frame of the target’s “owning” simulation system. This method of engagement resolution is consistent with that used in DFIRST and other live systems and may prove surperior to other means of compensating for terrain and coordinate mismatches, such as ground clamping of entities and/or detonations.

Expanded voice communications network. The next demonstration will include a Battalion TOC communications capability, which will expand the number of voice channels to approximately 10.

Network bandwidth conservation. GuardNet has many users and uses, e.g., distance learning activities. Preliminary analysis indicates that average bandwidth usage during a JTEP battalion-sized exercise will fall within the amount that can reasonably be allocated to JTEP, but peak demands will exceed that amount. Candidate methods for conserving bandwidth include data compression (e.g., generic, or voice-data specific), prioritization based on tolerance for latency (e.g., engagement-related messages and maneuvers tolerate less latency than ordinary maneuvers), and receiver-side data caching (e.g., to reduce the size of the message needed to effect an entity state “heartbeat”).
Distributed AAR capability. During the next demonstration, command elements at each site will participate in a distributed AAR. The AAR common view will include standard video teleconferencing, with whiteboard, and a 2D/3D playback of the exercise synchronized with recorded command voice nets. GuardNet will be the channel for communicating the common views. Candidate methods for ensuring a high-quality common view at each site, while staying within the limited GuardNet bandwidth allocation, are currently being analyzed.

Analysis of LC engagements. The next demonstration should generate more engagements between more evenly matched opponents who will be better able to use the full potential of their combat systems. We expect this change to result in a useful data set that we can analyze to verify the accuracy of the engagements and check for “unfair fight” conditions such as asymmetric lines of site or movement restrictions.

Upgrade to JCATS 4.1.0. The next demonstration will utilize JCATS 4.1.0 with the latest patches from JFCOM applied. This version includes enhanced handling of DIS version information [27]. Vetted JCATS PH/PK tables will be used to ensure realistic engagements.

6. Possible Near-Future LVC Integration and Adaptation Mechanisms


DBST. The incorporation of Digital Battlestaff Sustainment Trainer (DBST) components and technologies will be evaluated as a means of extending the system with C4I capacities.

Entity Attribute Ownership Transfer. It is possible that no matter how well correlated the underlying terrain databases become and how cleverly the various gateways use incoming messages, fundamental differences in the needs of the different systems may make fair fights between them impossible. In that case, one solution may be to temporarily transfer the ownership of entities as needed to the system best able to resolve interactions, e.g., to generate a computer-controlled CCTT tank to represent a JCATS tank in a fight with manned CCTT pods. Such a step is not feasible for the next demonstration because it would require software changes in both CCTT and JCATS. In any case, the incremental-step philosophy followed by JTEP demands that we first see how far correlated terrain and gateway engagement simulation adaptations can take us.

7. Summary and Conclusions


JTEP is a multiyear, multiphase program to develop an LVC-based training system to support California National Guard training in combat as well as MSCA functions. Currently in the first phase of its initial year, JTEP has completed its first demonstration, successfully linking live and constructive training systems distributed between two training areas. In addition to achieving the primary JTEP objectives for this demonstration, we demonstrated LC direct and indirect fire engagements, the use of a nondedicated network for overall connectivity, the use of LC integration and low-cost training instrumentation to drastically reduce training costs, and the use of virtual private land as part of a training exercise. Future JTEP demonstrations will expand on this initial demonstration to include a virtual system and battalion-level training in the next phase, and MSCA and joint assets in subsequent phases. As these phases and demonstrations are complete, we envision additional lessons learned and opportunities to build on JTEP as a leave-behind LVC training capability for the National Guard.

8. References


[1] Synthetic Theatre of War–Architecture (STOW-A) 1.6 S/W BaseLine Upgrade for Lesson Learned Report, ADST-II-CDRL-STOWA-900102A, 1999.

[2] Tiernan, T.R., Synthetic Theatre of War–Europe (STOW-E) Final Report, Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, 1995.

[3] National Simulation Center, LVC Training Environment Master Plan, draft, 2002.

[4] Common Training Instrumentation Architecture, Version 1.0, STRICOM, 2002.

[5] Powell, Edward, Range System Interoperability using TENA and the IKE 2 Middleware, CTEIP Foundation Initiative 2010, 2002.

[6] Bowers, Andy and David L. Prochnow, JTLS-JCATS: Design of a Multi-Resolution Federation for Multi-Level Training, MITRE, 2002.

[7] Conflict Simulation Laboratory, JCATS Algorithm Manual, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, draft, 01 March 2003.

[8] U.S. Army, M&S System Summary–DBST, 2002.

[9] McHale, Peter, and Starks, Eric, CCTT Gateways, Lockheed Martin Information Systems, 2002.

[10] Callahan, Bob, Interoperability Challenges Between CCTT and JCATS: A Theoretical Study, White Paper to Project Manager Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, 2/26/2003.

[11] IEEE Standards Committee on Interactive Simulation, IEEE Standard for Distributed Interactive Simulation–Application Protocols, IEEE Std 1278.1-1995.

[12] IEEE Standards Committee on Interactive Simulation, IEEE Standard for Distributed Interactive Simulation ― Application Protocols, IEEE Std 1278.1a-1998 (Supplement to IEEE Std 1278.1-1995).

[13] Defense Modeling Simulation Office, High-Level Architecture Interface Specification, Version 1.3, 1998.

[14] EPFL, Geneva, IIS, Nottingham, Thomson, TNO, Review of DIS and HLA Techniques for COVEN, ACTS Project N. AC040, 1997.

[15] Dingel, Juergen, David Garlan, and Craig Damon, Bridging the HLA: Problems and Solutions, Sixth IEEE Workshop on Distributed Simulation and Real Time Applications, 2002.

[16] Pullen, M., M. Myjak, and C. Bowens, Limitations of Internet Protocol Suite for Distributed Simulation in the Large Multicast Environment, The Internet Society Network Working Group, RFC 2502.

[17] TRADOC, US Army, DIS Versions of Janus, White Sands Missile Range, 1998.

[18] Burks, Terrell, Alexander, Tom, Lessmann, Kurt, LeSueur, Kenneth, Latency Performance of Various HLA RTI Implementations, 2002.

[19] Noseworthy, J. Russell, IKE2—Implementing the Stateful Distributed Object Paradigm, 5th IEEE Symposium on Object-Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing, 2002.

[20] Wood, Douglas, Implementation of DDM in the MAK High Performance RTI, MAK Technologies, 2002.

[21] Myjack, Michael, Lake, Tom, and Roberts, David, Timing: Mechanisms for Ownership Transfer, 1999.

[22] LaVine, Nils, Kehlet, Robert, O’Connor, Michael, and Jones, Dennis, Transferring Ownership of ModSAF Behavioral Attributes.

[23] Richbourg, Robert F., Robert J. Graebener, Tim Stone, and Keith Green, Verification And Validation (V&V) of Federation Synthetic Natural Environments, IITSEC 2001.

[24] Fortin, Michael Rita Simons, and Michael Butterworth, Database Interoperability–The CCTT to AVCATT Conversion Experience, Interservice/Industry Training Systems and Education Conference, Nov 2002.

[25] Ceranowicz, Andy, Torpey, Mark, Helfinstine, Bill, Evans, John, and Hines, Jack, Reflections on the Joint Experimental Federation, 2002.

[26] Balci, Osman, “Verification, Validation and Accreditation of Simulation Models,” Proceedings of the 1997 Winter Simulation Conference (Atlanta, GA, 7-10 December). IEEE, 1997.{[]



[27] JCATS Release Notes Version 4.1.0, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Conflict Simulation Laboratory, 1 March 2003.


Author Biographies


REGINALD FORD, Software Development Manager at SRI International, has 23 years of experience in test and training range instrumentation systems for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. He helped establish SRI’s Software Engineering and Development Center. He manages DFIRST software development and the integration of JTEP software systems and components.

JOHN SHOCKLEY, Senior Research Engineer at SRI International, has 19 years of experience in test and training range instrumentation systems for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. He began working on modeling and simulation aspects of these systems and has since participated in DIS/HLA standards development activities for over 11 years, concentrating on integrating live and virtual systems. He is the JTEP project leader.

MICHAEL BEEBE, Research Engineer at SRI International, has experience in systems engineering, remote sensing, GIS, and terrain database creation. In addition to being active in the development of DFIRST for the National Guard, he has worked with the Special Operations community. His primary JTEP responsibility is synthetic natural environments.

COL (Ret.) JOHN BERNATZ, JTEP Program Manager for the California National Guard, is a retired armor officer who has commanded armor and cavalry units through brigade level. He has over 33 years of experience as an Army trainer and training manager and was the Operations Officer for the 40th Infantry Division, Mechanized, during the Los Angeles riots of 1992 and the Northridge earthquake of 1994.

MARK FAUST, Research Engineer at SRI International, has been working on test and training range instrumentation systems for the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps for 10 years. He is a lead DFIRST software engineer and has extensive experience testing radio data links. His JTEP work includes developing software for DFIRST interoperability with external simulation systems.

MARK JOHNSON, Senior Software Engineer at SRI International, has over 20 years of experience in engineering and simulation and is a member of SRI's Software Engineering and Development Center. On the JTEP project he concentrates on JCATS, CCTT and the interoperation of these systems.

GERALD V. LUCHA, Principal Engineer at SRI International, has worked for 28 years on a wide variety of SRI projects related to instrumented test and training ranges of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. His experience includes not only studies and analysis of range requirements, instrumentation concepts, and performance, but also on-site assessments of numerous land, air, and sea combat training ranges in the United States and abroad. He currently serves as the DFIRST Chief Engineer and was responsible for assuring network connectivity in the field for JTEP as well as the Camp Roberts end of the demonstration.

1 A live “simulation” comprises real people, real vehicles, real environment, and simulated weapons. A virtual simulation comprises real people, simulated vehicles, simulated environment, and simulated weapons. A constructive simulation comprises some real people, some simulated people, simulated vehicles, simulated environment, and simulated weapons.





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